Simple SEO Guide

Onpage Optimization

The first thing you need to do to rank well and optimize your site for search engines is to start with optimizing your site internally. You can’t rank well if your own site isn’t optimized for search engines. The good news is that if you run your website using a premade script, it will be very easy to do your internal optimization.

The first thing you need to look for is to make sure all your internal links are dofollow. You can think of links between pages of your site as a web. Pages should be interlinked so pages link to eachother. This will distribute pagerank among your pages. The only problem is that some webmasters have all of the links on all their pages marked as nofollow. If this is the case, pagerank will not be distributed among your pages (and you will have less pages on your site with a higher pagerank. Remember that pagerank is counted for each page and not each domain. When you have a page with a higher pagerank it will rank higher in search engines, so  having more pages with a higher pagerank does help).  The simple fix is to make all your links dofollow. If you want to have nofollow links, consider making only external links nofollow. It is difficult to rank well if you’re not distributing pagerank in your site.

Secondly for internal optimization is to improve your internal linking. There is no way you can over-link inside your site, but the more links you have the better you can distribute your pagerank. You can also help visitors navigate. I like to use Wikipedia as an example, where  terms are linked to other pages (and this helps visitors as well as balances pagerank on other pages). If you have a wordpress blog, there is a plugin which can turn all defined keywords in your posts into links to a certain page.

Another important part of your on-page optimization is making sure your HTML is valid. Crawlers for search engines, like Googlebot, can have trouble crawling your site if it contains invalid HTML. I would recommend using the W3C Validator to check for errors and fix them. If you use a blogging script (like WordPress), fixing HTML errors may be as easy as changing your theme.

A large part of on-page optimization is page titles. Your title appears at the top of browsers and is displayed on search engines as the link to your website. This is the most important, most highly valued piece of text on each webpage. Do not expect to rank well for a keyword if it’s not in your title. Make sure the first part of your title is on the subject of your page. You can have other names (such as the name of your website) after that. It is especially important to change your titles if you own a forum, where the default titles begin with “View topic” and “View forum”.

Lastly, it is very important to have a site that loads quickly. Google recently started using page load time as a factor in ranking. There are different things you can do to get your pages to load faster, from compressing images to using gzip to compress text to tweaking your Keepalive Time to minifying your HTML and CSS. Larger websites may even use a content delivery network (CDN) to deliver content to users from a close geographic location. Just remember that the faster your website loads the better. If possible, you should aim for a load time under 3 seconds. You can now see in Google Webmaster Tools how quickly your site loads according to Google and you can get personalized recommendations.

Terms

Gzip – Short for GNU Zip, can be used to compress web pages.

Keepalive – Allows the server to keep an open connection while transferring data so each new requested file doesn’t require a separate connection.

Minify – To remove comments, white space, and breaks from source code in order to reduce the size of the file.

Nofollow – A hyperlink with a rel tag which contains the word nofollow. Google and other major search engines don’t take these links into account when determining rank.

Dofollow – All hyperlinks other than nofollow links. Google and other major search engines take these into account when determining rank.

Backlinks

Day 2 focuses on gaining backlinks from other sites. This is the most helpful off-page optimization you can do. Remember that the best backlinks are always the organic links. When someone visits your website and likes it, they will go to other websites and link to yours. This is how linking was meant to be; however, you can link to your own site from other websites to boost your pagerank. I will discuss two ways of gaining links: through blog commenting and forums.

When you find a forum or blog you want to comment on, there are several things to check for. The most simple is to check for the nofollow tag in the links. A link to our site which has the nofollow tag won’t help you. This tag was designed to minimize link spamming (however some webmasters abuse the nofollow tag and some use it for no reason at all). After you have checked to make sure the blog is dofollow (a term which is used to describe all blogs which don’t use nofollow), check to see how the blog is indexed. There are some places where you can submit your link and it will never be discovered because of the poor website structure. The last thing to check for is pagerank of the page you are posting your link to. This can help you decide which forum to be on (because you wouldn’t want to make your way up to thousands of posts on a forum which is never going to have high pagerank).

After you have checked the forum or blog, it’s time to get your link out there. If you’re commenting on a blog, the worst thing you can do is spam or leave a bad comment. Aim to have a comment about the size of a paragraph which contributes to the topic. This will get the webmaster approve your comment (although some people won’t approve even the best comments if they contain a link) and it will make your site look good. Leave your link in the Website field of the comment section. Your name will become the hyperlink, so if you’re aiming for good anchor text you should consider using the format Dave @ WebsiteName instead of WebsiteName, just so your comment doesn’t look like spam. If you are using a forum to get your link out (which I recommend over blog commenting), you should know not to make a thread advertising your website. Why? People who advertise their websites within their first hundred posts (and this is number different for all sites) may get banned, have their URL censored, or even get their URL submitted to SpamCop (which will get your site banned from other sites). Creating a thread about your website also makes you look like a spammer, and you’re letting people know that the only reason you registered was to advertise. Just join in on the community discussion and have your link in your signature.

Terms

Anchor Text –  The text of a hyperlink to a webpage.

Website SEO Guide Part 2 will be posted soon!

  1. Huey05-03-2010

    This is an extremely helpful guide, I find Gzip to be a very useful thing to look into. I was able to cut many of my website load times by up to %50 the faster your page loads the better it should do with ranks and visitors.

    The key to comment posting is as simple as don’t spam. But Name@keyword this could help a bit with blogs that don’t let you use html or don’t approve comments with it.

    Thanks for taking the time to write this 🙂
    .-= Huey´s last blog ..Boondocks Season 3 episode 1 =-.

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